Do you love nature? Do you love the sweet and tangy taste of cherries?
If yes, then you must witness the beauty of a Cheery tree; it’s marvelous!
Not only that, you will get delicious and nutritious cherries at the end of the season. In addition, it is not challenging to grow a cherry tree in the home garden.
Being a cherry lover and a trained horticulturist, I would love to share with you complete guidance on how to grow a cherry tree in a home garden.
Let’s start by choosing the right cherry variety.
Cherry Variety Selection
Whatever variety of the cherry tree you select, it will take almost 3-4 years to reach a stage of being able to produce healthy edible fruits. Once it reaches maturity, a standard-size cherry tree will give you 30-50 quarts of delicious cherries annually, while a dwarf tree will be capable of producing 10-15 quarts.
The best time to plant a cherry tree is in spring or late fall when the soil has sufficient moisture, the soil is porous due to proper air circulation, and the weather is favorable to support tiny young seedlings.
- Early – Black Tartarian
- Late – Stella
- Midseason – Bing
This type of cherry is mainly seen in marketplaces to be consumed as fresh. It has a thick, rich, and somewhat plum-like texture and taste.
Sweet cherries are self-sterile and must be cross-pollinated; you’ll need several trees to get a good amount of fruit. Moreover, they thrive best in hardiness zones 5 to 7, where they grow best in an orchard or a sizable garden.
- Early – Early Richmond
- Late – Meteor
- Midseason – Montmorency
Sour cherries cannot be consumed raw; therefore, they are used in preserves and other cooking purposes. If you have limited space in your home garden, consider planting the dwarf, self-pollinating cultivar Stella.
All sour cherries are self-fertile, substantially smaller than sweet cherries, and thrive best in zones 4 through 6.
How to Care For Your Cherry Tree
Cherry trees should not be planted close to larger trees or structures that will shade them; instead, choose a sunny location with sufficient air circulation.
Cherry trees should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. In addition, deep, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal.
For the tall cherry tree variety, the plant-to-plant distance should be kept at 35-40 ft.; for a dwarf one, the distance will be 8-10 ft.
The favorable time for planting a cherry tree is early spring or late fall when the soil is relatively soft and has higher moisture content.
How to Plant Cherry Trees in Home Garden?
- When planting the cherry tree with standard rootstock, the graft union should be a few inches below the soil’s surface.
- On the other hand, when planting a tree on dwarf rootstock, the graft union should be placed a few inches above the soil line. Note: It will stop the graft from developing its roots and bypassing the rootstock’s roots.
- Provide appropriate support when planting fan-trained trees. A distance of 12 to 15 feet plant to plant distance will be enough for them.
- When planting bare-root trees, it is important to evenly distribute the roots down and away to avoid their bending.
- You can place the rootstock on a small mound of earth in the center of the planting hole and add soil to fill the hole.
- For container-grown transplant of the seedling or plants, take out the root ball first, then tip the tree over and remove the encircled or pot-bound roots using sharp shears.
Growing the Cherry Tree
- Cherries (sweet and sour both) require the same level of attention, irrespective of their different growing habits.
- Apply mulch to keep moisture in place and to give the plant a neutral and organic food source
- Netting the young seedlings will keep the birds away from the fruit.
- Water the newly planted cherry tree regularly, especially in dry regions.
- Cherry trees don’t require fruit thinning because the tree naturally sheds unnecessary and unhealthy fruit in the first few weeks of summer.
- To promote the development of new fruiting wood, it is important to prune the cherry tree each year in the late winter. But avoid pruning in the autumn.
- A low-nitrogen dose (5-10-10) is best to be given to a cherry tree at the time of blooming or just before the tree is getting ready to bloom
- Stop fertilizing the tree after mid-summer to let the new growth harden off before the fall and winter.
Harvesting Cherry Fruit
- Fruits should only be picked when they are one of the three colors (dark red, black, or yellow).
- Because the sugar content increases in the few days before full ripeness, you must be prepared to harvest at any time during this last week. They can be consumed fresh or cooked.
- If you want to freeze the fruit, the right time to harvest the fruit would be when it is firm, i.e., a little earlier than fully ripened.
- Harvest it along with the cherry stem to avoid damaging the cherry fruit.
- On the other hand, avoid cutting the spur because it will bear fruit the following year.
- Hand-picking could harm the shoots and spread infection; therefore, use sharp scissors to cut the stalks.
- Keep in mind that cherry trees typically start producing fruit in their fourth year. After that, they ought to produce 30 to 50 quarts of cherries annually.
Pests and Diseases of Cherry Tree
A trained and responsible farmer knows that a plant grown in healthier conditions can better resist pest attacks. On the other hand, a plant suffering from malnutrition or environmental stresses will be more susceptible to disease and pest attacks.
Following are the common cherry tree diseases and insect pests:
- Black Knot
- Brown Rot
- Bacterial Canker (timely removal of the diseased branches can prevent the spread of bacterial canker disease)
- Japanese beetles
Can I grow a cherry tree close to my house?
A cherry tree requires 6-7 hours o direct sunlight, 2-6 ft. space to grow properly, and annual trimming to shape the spreading limbs. If you can provide all these mandatory things for the cherry tree next to our house,
go for it.
Why do I need two cherry trees to get fruit?
Cherry is a dioicous plant meaning that the male and female parts of the plants are found on separate trees, and the plant is self-sterile; a male plant alone or a female alone cannot bear fruit until both are planted side by side.
Is it difficult to grow a cherry tree in your home garden?
Cherry plants require a few environmental conditions for their development and fruiting:
- good air circulation
- well-drained soil with a sufficient amount of moisture and organic matter
- annual fertilization
- 6-7 hours of direct sunlight daily.
How to know the age of the cherry tree?
A cherry tree’s appearance, growing habit, and height can show its age in case you forget when you planted it. For example, a 4-year-old cherry plant will have 3-3.5ft. height, will not bear fruit, etc., while a 6-7-year-old cherry tree will have 6-7 ft. height and will produce a nice amount of cherries.